OHIO. Rolling hills with gorgeous tree line views, rivers, lakes, creeks, beaches, ponds, gorges, waterfalls, farmland, marsh, etc. The landscape here is beautiful and there are plenty of park systems with scientists, naturalists, biologists, zoologists, botanists, geologists, architects, ecologists and engineers that ensure that the beauty of OHIO is preserved for us to enjoy.
In our family, we do our best to spend as much time outdoors as we can.
Recently we went to our local arboretum and stopped by the Children’s Nature Play Area. This area has climbing ropes, a reading area, balance beams, a small zip line and an area to watch birds, squirrels and chipmunks feed from the feeders.
But what was most exciting for the girls was a recently added Fairy Garden. They played with it for more than an hour before we had to bribe them to go. So, that’s where the idea for our next family project began…
This winter, we will be building a fairy garden for our yard.
There are many fun elements to this project that incorporate aspects of STEAM (I’ll be starting to add the Arts portion to many of our projects too)! Most of our materials will be found in nature or scrap that we have – other than some items we may need for attaching (like glue, nails, etc.).
Using items from nature will allow us to:
- Identify trees / plants and their attributes for building,
- Identify types of fruit / nuts various trees / plants produce,
- Identify other items in nature that can be used for building / decorating,
- Use our creativity and
- Study actual structures out in the real world. For example, go look at the structural aspects of a bridge – what holds it up?
In the words of William Wordsworth, we will try to “let nature be (our) teacher”.
This entire project will be a great introduction to many disciplines in the STEAM fields. Key ones that come to mind for this project are Structural or Civil Engineer, Materials Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Safety Engineer, Naturalist / Biologist, Botanist, Geologist, Architect and possibly even Ecology.
I fully expect that as parents of two young children, we may be doing much of the work, but it will be incredibly worth every ounce of energy considering the tremendous amount of education and confidence that this will provide them. And the final result will be so much FUN!
Over the next several weeks / months, we will be collecting nature materials to use (started this weekend), taking photos of various structures that we want to build, planning our builds and finally, building several pieces and problem solving any (hopefully minimal) failures.
I will share each of the pieces in this blog – how they were made, what we would do differently and hopefully we will inspire some of you to do something similar! Feel free to submit ideas that you have or items you think belong in a Fairy Garden – let me be your Fairy God-Momgineer (HAHA!) and bring these ideas to life!
I am also SO excited to see the kids ideas come to life too. Maria Montessori once said, “A child, more than anyone else, is a spontaneous observer of nature.”
All ideas in this post, as always, are my own. Please reach out to me below in the comments or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any additional comments, ideas or suggestions for our fairy garden. I’d love to hear them!
And if you love this blog, PLEASE share it with family, friends, colleagues, etc. that you think would love it too.